James Malcolm

Professor, Biology

James Malcolm


Ph.D. Biology, Harvard University 1979;

B.A. Zoology, Oxford University, 1973


Biology, Hedco Hall
P: 909.748.8737
P: 909-748-8920
E: james_malcolm@redlands.edu

Research, Academic Interests, and Areas of Expertise

Conservation Biology: work with a local stickleback fish and the highly endangered Ethiopian wolf.
Evolutionary Biology: Current interests include the evolution of senescence and acorn infestation.
Animal Behavior: I have studied fish, birds and mammals including packrats.

Professional Background

My PhD in the mid-1970s was on altruism in African wild dogs in Tanzania. It was squarely in the field of sociobiology and I worked with one of the major theorists in the field, Robert Trivers at Harvard. The major paper arising from this work has received over 100 citations.

It was clear over 35 years ago that the African wild dog was rare and I collected data on numbers and distribution. While a grad student, I took a trip to Ethiopia to study the rarest of all members of the dog family, the Ethiopian wolf, and published the first systematic paper on the species.

Coming to Redlands in 1981, I looked at stickleback fish for several years. I brought to light a new form of stickleback, which was declared endangered, and work has included many efforts to protect the new form and investigate its origins.

Since 1975, I have continued to work in Ethiopia using my sabbaticals. In 2002 I did a survey of the large and beautiful mountain nyala which occurs only in SE Ethiopia. In 2004, I was selected to be the Project Manager for the Ethiopian Wolf Conservation Programme. The programme is run from Oxford University of which I was an employee. I lived in Ethiopia and supervised a staff of 25 Ethiopians as they collected data, offered an education program and inoculated dogs to prevent rabies from spreading to the wolves.

In 2015, I started a study of packrats more formerly  called woodrats. The animals build very larges nests made of thousands of sticks. The nests are on the ground in the branches of California Juniper trees. Our study site is within a mile of the campus. Working with students, we have found that the animals orient their nests by the compass, which has not been recorded before. We are now trying to find out why they prefer to nest on the south sides of Junipers.


Courses Taught

BIOL 131 Principles of Biology

PHIL 332 Philosophy of Science


Development of Human Behavior



BIOL 352 Animal Behavior

BIOL 109 Contemporary issues in Ecology

Africa Today

BIOL 340 Conservation Biology

The Wolf

Conceptions of Nature

EVST 100 Introduction to Environmental Studies

Introductory Design Studio in Environmental studies

BIOL 339 Zoology

Awards, Honors, Grants

Fauna and Flora Preservation Society 1976

National Geographic Society 1987

California Department of Fish and Game 2000

Invited Presentations

Research presentations at Harvard, Princeton, Berkeley, Oxford, Arizona State, and the Smithsonian.

University of California Riverside
Cal State University Long Beach
Loma Linda University, La Sierra
Loyola Marymount University


Animal Behavior Society

Society of Conservation Biologists

East African Wildlife Society

Ethiopian Wildlife and Natural History Society